Open Source, a public radio show that initiates conversations on the internet and carries them onto the airwaves, just aired a discussion about Second Life. Discussion revolved around identity, love and making money in this new kind of online environment.
Laura Gurak, director of the Internet Studies Center here at the U, is quoted in Duluth News Tribune article on the phenomenon of "cybersmearing." From the article:
Terence Banich had been outed as a bad tipper, and he didn't even know it.
He popped up on the cheapskate list at BitterWaitress.com, berated by a server at a Chicago restaurant for leaving a $3 tip on a $200 bill.
Informed of his tipping infamy, Banich said if he had left such a measly gratuity, it was a mistake, a misplaced decimal point, and he's sorry for it.
But Banich, a Chicago lawyer, also said he was none too pleased that a waitress had lifted information from his credit card -- his name -- and posted it on the Internet.
Banich had effectively been cybersmeared, and he's far from alone.
The good folks at the SXSW Conference are slowly putting up the audio from the interactive panels. You can get what's available at:
Open source software business models have gone from theoretical to profitable over the past half decade-companies like Red Hat, MySQL, JBOSS, and IBM. How will peer production business models prove out in the content space? Learn how pioneering commons-based businesses are creating what Business 2.0 calls the next multi-billion dollar industry.
My notes (not direct quotes):
Clarke: Started with freenet, a peer to peer network for circumventing internet censorship. Started revver, a video distribution service for individuals.
Malango: Works with Magnatune, an online music label based on the open source model. Use non-commercial and share alike Creative Commons licenses.
Wales: Aside from Wikipedia, started Wikia, a for-profit company offering wiki services for interest groups. Commons based model is not so much about for vs. non profit, but about open vs. closed.
Ito: What about funding a commons based businesses?
Malango: Magnatune is self funded because of the passion of founder, John Buckman. The need exists to make the company sustainable.
Clarke: Same funders as Skype. Fund raising has been pretty easy with Ravver vs. other companies.
Wales: Step 1: Become the 20th most popular website in the world. Step 2: Beat the investors off with a stick until you're sure you have the right one.
Ito: Fairly easy to get funded right now, but that's not necessarily a good thing.
Clarke: Revver needed some money to get started, but if you can do it without, it's often a better way.
Ito: Creative Commons does a lot of work to make the licenses easy to use, understand and transmit.
Wales: As more commons based content is created, businesses can support other businesses by providing more content.
I'm at the Maintaining a Design Playground panel. Description from SXSW site:
Everybody needs a place to fail, but a commercial design project is not that place. Design playgrounds are personal, pressure-free, online environments that encourage free design play and unfettered experimentation. Successful design is a diamond hidden in the mine field of failure, and design playgrounds plunder that mine field. Panelists will share the history and practice of their own design playgrounds, and discuss how these playgrounds have influenced their commercial work.
My notes (not actual quotes):
Curt: Design is like the stack of spring loaded plates in the cafeteria... the good idea is twenty plates down... the playground is the place to get through the first twenty plates. The playground is a place to fail, learn, keep track of your progress. Shows his playground full of crazy animated gifs. Playground: http://playdamage.org/
Jemma: Worked with Joshua Davis to make scripts for Flash pieces, then exports to Illustrator to continue playing. Says it's great to have the archive of experiments. The more you put up on the site, the more you'll get out of it. Playground: http://www.prate.com/
Dustin: Uses the playground to store projects that don't necessarily make it into production. Doesn't really like a lot of his earlier work on the site, but doesn't take it down, uses that early work as a motivator. Playground: http://www.upsod.com/
Curt also has a list of playgrounds that various designers maintain.
I'm currently in the Roll Your Own Web Conference panel. The panelists here are:
My notes (not direct quotes):
Fried: Out-teach, don't out spend.
Livingstone: Keep it small and personal, don't worry about sponsorship. iStock charges between 1 and 200 dollars for their conferences.
Meyer: Try to teach what you've learned, share solutions.
Zeldman: If you're making a loss, what's the motivation?
Livingstone: It's about building engaged users. More about marketing and community building for iStock.
Zeldman: What about location?
Sherrin: Holds conferences at home in Sydney. Mostly local users showing up. Cheaper venues are better, users as generally satisfied. Universities have wireless networks, etc. and are low cost.
Zeldman: How can you make sure venues understand your needs?
Meyer: Had problems with this in Philadelphia. Was quoted $300 per user for wifi at one venue. Start with vistor and convention bureau website for the city. A conference usually costs about $10,000 (100 people).
Fried: Chicago is great for conferences. Paid $5000 for 60 people at a University of Chicago owned venue.
Ditmore: Do a minimum at the bar for a cheap venue. Get a sponsor for parties, food, etc. Geeks will figure out a solution to technical problems. Give volunteers a free ticket.
Livingstone: Go abroard, if you have attendees all over. Got a great deal in Slovenia. Language barriers, customs are issues.
Zeldman: Who works with sponsors?
Ditmore: Have several levels of sponsorship for Webzine conference. Many sponsors are previous attendees. Be creative in asking for sponsorship. Adobe was first sponsor, they hated the event, but the conference got the money. People enjoy the small conferences more than the big ones.
Sherrin: Many companies will only sponsor if they get stage time.
Fried: You can definitely do it on your own. You don't necessarily need sponsors.
Zeldman: How do you set the price?
Fried: Supply and demand. Raise the price till you stop selling out. The higher the price, the higher the expectations.
Ditmore: Even at $22 for the webzine conference, she still gets people asking for free admission.
Meyer: Stigma attached to making money off of conferences.
Sherrin: Offers scholarships for her conference.
Zeldman: What about speakers?
Ditmore: Try getting new speakers, new topics.
Sherrin: Fame is important, so attendees can justify the cost, but lesser known speakers can often provide insights no one else can.
Fried: People from 37signals speak themselves.
Chris: (of Bar Camp) What about people with day jobs. He puts together grass roots style conferences together for less than $2000.
Zeldman: Who's actually thinking of doing a conference? [80% of audience raises hands.]
The DIY: Now More Than Ever panel was a great dicussion between a few people who have had some success starting their own web business. Legal issues, identity, marketing, and saving your sanity were among the topics. Presenters included:
I sat in this morning on a panel session on tips and tricks for podcasting. The conversation touched a lot on technical issues like microphones and encoding, but shifted later to what kind of events are best suited to podcasting and when it might be a waste of time. The panel made use of a blog as another way to collect audience questions and comments.
On the panel:
Check out J's flickr stream for photos of Austin and the conference.
To see what all of the conference attendees have been snapping pics of, look at the SXSW 2006 flickr stream.
I will be attending the South by Southwest Interactive conference this coming saturday through tuesday. SXSW started as a conference for indy music types, but has since branched out into film and new media. I'm riding down to Austin on the coattails of my friend J Wynia who will be on a panel at the conference entitled "Beyond Folksonomies". J was kind enough to give me his extra ticket to the conference. The panels and keynotes at SXSW Interactive span the range of new media topics, from blogging to running succesful websites. Stay tuned for my dispatches from the conference. If there's something particular you'd like me to check out, or someone you'd like me to talk to, or if you're going to be there as well, just let me know.
Daniel Miller is currently Professor of Material Culture, Department of Anthropology, University College London. Without hesitation, I can say that he is THE most well-known and prolific anthropologist who rigorously combines sociocultural studies and arachaeology in our discipline. Recently, he has turned his prolific interest to the issues of new media and began publishing inspiring works new media as part of 'material culture.' Most recently, he conducted a project that examines the impact of new media technologies such as the mobile phone and internet on poverty and development in Jamaica, Ghana, India and South Africa. The results are being written up in a volume for Berg called The Cell Phone: An Anthropology of Communications. In a recent paper he also examined the potential of these media to teach schoolchildren about their responsibilities as consumers to producers. Another project being explored for the future is the study of communication technologies in maintaining relationships of love and care amongst migrant and diaspora communities. Other related previous titles include: The Internet: An Ethnographic Approach; The Anthropology of Media; Fashion and Anxiety; The Dialectics of Shopping; Car Cultures; Consumption; Possesssions, etc.
Schedule: Monday, April 3
- 12:15-1:15pm, Informal Department Seminar, The Impact of the Mobile Phone on Poverty in Jamaica and the Concept of Value. Room, TBA.
- 4:30-6:00pm, Public Colloquium Lecture, "Beyond Social Science - Social Reproduction in South London." Room, TBA.
But now, after several years of revolutionary rhetoric in each venue about the wonders of the blogosphere, doubters have surfaced. Suddenly, they are questioning the accumulated wisdom of the boosters.
It's boom or doom. Like so much of what pings around in today's vast media echo chambers, odds are that neither of these visions will stand the test of time.
The first Monday of the month is coming up, and that means it's Emerging Digerati time again. Monday's program will feature staff members from around the University of Minnesota who are working on innovative new media projects. I may be biased, having been a staff member at the U for a while now, but staff turn out an amazing amount of interesting technological solutions. As an added bonus, a lot of those solutions get shared around campus and beyond. The program on Monday will feature: Charles Earl Love Yust (CALA), Colin McFadden (CLA) and Hope Johnson (ADCS). To sweeten the deal, if you come to the event (6pm Weisman Art Museum), you will receive your very own slice of pizza and a soda absolutely free! That's a tough deal to beat... gastrological and intellectual satisfaction all in one.